Coach Bobby Petrino’s resume as a football coach is impressive. In his first stint at Louisville he lead the program to a BCS bowl game and did the same at the University of Arkansas in 2010. Most recently he lead Louisville to a 9-3 and produced the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Petrino’s true signature moments are far less flattering. In 2007 he bolted from the Atlanta Falcons with a 3-10 record to accept the Arkansas position, leaving laminated notes on players lockers to inform them on his decision. In April 2012 he infamously showed up at a Razorbacks presser in a neck brace due to a motorcycle accident. The subsequent investigation revealed a former volleyball player on the bike who worked for the school and had a relationship (along with other perks) with Petrino, which led to the coach’s dismissal.
Petrino eventually got right (it seemed), coached Western Kentucky for a year and then returned to Louisville. With a trip to the Citrus Bowl on the horizon, Petrino should be a feel-good story of redemption.
‘Wakeyleaks’ may destroy all of that in the coming days.
The scandal started earlier this week with revelations that former Wake Forest quarterback and assistant coach turned radio analyst Tommy Elrod leaked game plans to Wake Forest’s ACC opponents as far back as 2014.
The bread crumbs led to a November game where Wake lost to Louisville 44-12. There is one coaching connection between the two programs, Louisville Offensive Coordinator Lonnie Galloway previously worked at Wake Forest alongside Elrod.
On Wednesday, embattled Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich acknowledged that Elrod indeed shared playbook information with Elrod prior the game.
This does not bode well and the dominoes may fall fast. The daytime FOX Sports talk shows quickly jumped on the topic. Shannon Sharpe suggested on his daily duet with Skip Bayless that Petrino be terminated immediately if he indeed had firsthand knowledge of Wake Forest’s playbook. Later in the day Jason Whitlock chimed in that the ‘rest of the story’ has yet to surface, suggesting gambling as a motive for Elrod’s actions.
Jurich’s head is likely to roll as well, he is already in hot water over investigations of the men’s basketball program, which includes an assistant coach who allegedly hired prostitutes to cater to players and recruits on 15 occasions.
The Atlantic Coast Conference as called for an investigation involving Wake Forest opponents. The smart money says this gets very ugly, very fast for those involved. Wake Forest has its own questions to answer while Louisville now finds itself in scandals involved spying, prostitution and indirectly, gambling.
Do not be surprised if Louisville has an interim football coach for its bowl game while they seek a new AD to repair a damaged athletic program.